5 Self-Care Tips

 

Between working full-time jobs, taking care of our families, and juggling day-to-day activities, it’s easy to forget about self-care and put everyone and everything else before our own needs.

Think about it…

How many times have you put your own desires on the back burner in order to cater to someone else, whether it be work, your partner, or your children?

There’s nothing wrong with taking care of others.

In fact, the ability to put others before yourself is a beautiful gift that not everyone has. But serving others doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of yourself.

Self-care, especially when you are someone who puts yourself last, is an extremely important topic. That’s why, this week, we’re sharing with you easy tips to ensure you get the self-care you need so you can live a happy, healthy, and balanced life.

Keep reading to discover a few self-care tips that you can easily implement into your schedule every week.

Schedule Weekly “Me Time”

Long work days, carpooling your kids to various activities, being there for a friend who needs a shoulder to cry on, and other similar activities eat up a lot of your time. And when you have a servant’s heart, it can be really hard to say no when someone needs you.

That’s why it is so important to block time off during your week that is “me time.”

Some people need an hour every night to relax and refresh, while others need an hour every other day. It’s up to you how much time you think you’ll need.

The idea is that whatever amount of time you block off is for you and you only.

Don’t let anyone schedule plans with you during that time. Tell your partner you will be unavailable during your “you time” so he or she can help with the chores or kids or manage anything else that needs to get done.

Turn off your phone and computer so people don’t have access to you.

Use your time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the things you love to do.

Cook a Meal You Love Once a Week

For those of you that have children and/or a picky partner, cooking can often be a chore.

You may find yourself making mac-n-cheese 3 nights a week because your children won’t eat anything else. Or maybe you refrain from making your favorite vegetarian dish because your significant other doesn’t enjoy veggies.

It’s ok to compromise and make meals that will make everyone happy…but what about you?

Every once in a while, you deserve to indulge in your favorite foods, too. That’s why, once a week, you should treat yourself to cooking your favorite meal.

If your kids or spouse doesn’t enjoy what you make one night a week, there’s always bread and peanut butter in the pantry.

If you don’t want to search for a good recipe, check out some of our favorites:

Quick and Easy Soup Recipes

Quick and Healthy Meal Recipes 

Simple Charleston-Area Recipes 

Visit a Spa

Everyone deserves to be pampered once in a while—even you!

If you are able, a trip to the spa to get your nails done or get a massage is a great way to relax and take care of yourself. Let someone take care of you for a change!

If you know a handful of other women that need some self-care, get a group of girlfriends together and make it a fun outing.

If you’re in the Charleston, South Carolina area, we recommend these local spas.

Get Some Exercise

Part of self-care is ensuring your body is healthy and happy. This means partaking in some form of exercise every week to keep your mind clear and your body strong.

This doesn’t mean spending hours breaking your back at the gym. That’s no fun. We encourage you to pick activities you love, like yoga, walking, Zumba, etc.

There are many forms of exercise, like hiking or dance classes, that you can do in groups. Make your self-care exercise time more fun by inviting your friends to join these types of activities with you if you enjoy having company.

Just Be

At times, life can be hard, stressful, and challenging. For that reason, sometimes the best form of self-care is to simply sit quietly and just be.

This can be accomplished in many ways.

Some people prefer meditation, a time where they can sit in peace, reflect, and free their mind. Others enjoy things like taking a hot bath with calming music in the background, or sitting in nature and admiring the views for a while.

The idea is to lose yourself in the stillness and calmness of the moment so you can free your mind, relax, and enjoy yourself.

The laundry, business reports, and doctors’ appointments will all still be there when you’re done relaxing, so take some time and just be.

 What do you do regularly for self-care? Let us know in the comments below!

Meditation 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Clearing the Mind

Have you ever meditated? Those who practice meditation regularly say that it keeps them grounded, helps them focus and stay calm, and clears their minds. Others use it as a deep spiritual practice.

There is no wrong way to learn how to meditate, but for those who would like some guidance to start, here are a few ideas to get the maximum meditation benefits.

Decide why you want to meditate.

If you have a particular goal for your meditation practice, you’ll find your ideal way of clearing your mind. Do you wish to stop your day and give back to yourself? Is stress relief an objective? Have you felt the need to connect with yourself or the universe? Your reason for meditating does not need to be complex; it simply needs to resonate deeply with you.

Choose your time and place.

You want a meditation space that is yours and that you can visit regularly. Many beginning meditators make the mistake of trying to center themselves in a noisy area of their homes during a busy time for their families. It may be that you’ll need to wake up early or go to bed late to create the time to for your meditation practice.

Make the effort to be as still and silent as possible during your practice. Later, you’ll want to add some distraction to your safe place to help you get used to controlling your mind during meditation.

Be sure you are as alert as possible.

Meditation is relaxing, and it’s not always necessary for you to stay awake during your practice time, but you want to be as alert as you can be when you begin. Alcohol and medication may not be the best aids for you when meditating, but it’s even more important that you establish a regular habit, even if you’re not in an ideal place to do it.

Simply sit.

The easiest way to start meditating is to become at ease with yourself in the silence. While wearing something comfortable, go to your meditation space with a candle. Light the candle, sit in a comfortable position (but not so comfortable that you go to sleep) on the floor or in a chair, and concentrate on the flame. Try to clear your mind. You’ll find that the most powerful yet relaxing meditation occurs in the space between thoughts.

Mind your breath.

Breathe from your stomach (diaphragm), not your lungs. Inhale and exhale fully and deeply. Notice as much as you can about where you are. What scents do you detect while breathing? What does the air feel like as it enters your body? Any time you feel your thoughts wandering, and they will while meditating, come back to your breath, and focus on it.

There is no perfect way to meditate. It doesn’t matter what you wear, what you think about, or what you tell yourself. What matters is that your mind is calm and rested and you feel centered and more alive.

 

Have you ever done meditation for beginners?

What was your main reason for starting your practice?

Five Steps to Waiving a Grudge

GrudgesTo err is human, but did you know that to forgive is good for your health? Even though we’ve all been hurt by someone before—friends, peers, parents, or significant others—forgiving those who wronged us can lessen anxiety and stress, reduce the symptoms of depression, lower blood pressure, and boost self-esteem. Make the decision to let go of resentment with these simple steps, and you’re well on your way to both physical and emotional well-being:

Remember it’s a process. Forgiveness is an active engagement, and it takes emotional work to forge through. Make the commitment to yourself to stay with the process—and remind yourself that you deserve relief and comfort. Forgiveness, after all, is not about the other person. It’s about getting you to a better emotional place.

  • Reflect on the facts of the situation. In essence, meditate on what has happened, the role you played, and how the outcome has affected your life and state of mind. Try to recall what happened as objectively as possible.
  • Accept these facts. Know that what’s done is done, and you cannot undo the past. The only remainder of the situation left in your control is how you manage your role in the aftermath. Do not stoop to revenge. Do not obsess over what you should have done before. Put it in a box in your mind and seal the lid.
  • Say it out loud. When you are ready to let go of your hurt and bitterness, look in the mirror and tell your reflection that you forgive the person who offended you. It does not matter if you actually say it to the person so much as yourself. Their role in this circumstance is finished, even if they never apologize or you never confront them. You can only rely on yourself to make you feel better about it.
  • Don’t be the victim. Even if you are, you have to remove yourself from that mindset to end the cycle of hurt. Know that people and circumstances shape the person you become not by what’s done to you, but how you react to them. Relish this control you have over your mind. You have the power to transform your thoughts, and to push the painful and bitter ones away. You have the choice to let your life be defined by your compassion and understanding rather than your hurt.

What has helped you move past a grudge before?

 

How One Survivor Used Meditation and Support to Find a Brighter Future

breast cancer survivorWe’re superexcited to share Part II of our guest interview with Debbie Woodbury on our blog, today!

For those of you who missed Part I of this interview, click here.

See below for Part II of our guest interview, where Debbie shares more of her inspirational story, including a look into her Meditation Mondays:

1. Our team at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction loves how you started a Meditation Mondays blog series! Tell us what inspired you to begin meditating and what benefits it provides to you.

Thank you, I love that series too! I was inspired to begin meditation by simple necessity. My cancer diagnosis completely blindsided me. Up until that point, I thought of myself as a healthy person, who looked and felt fine. However, as testing and treatment chipped away at my body, I slowly sunk into sickness. My mastectomy cured my noninvasive cancer, but healing was a whole different matter.

Physically, I had lots of guidance and healed with rest and good care. Emotionally, I was on my own. Luckily, I discovered guided imagery just a few weeks before my mastectomy and used it to calm my anxiety about the impending surgery and loss of my breast. I continued searching for emotional healing and discovered meditation.

Meditation provides me with many, many benefits. As a cancer survivor, it is so easy to drive yourself crazy, worrying about doctors’ appointments, tests, and every ache and pain. Through meditation, I became aware of the voice in my head whose job is to worry. Meditation brings me back to the present moment, where the only thing that exists is what is happening right now.

The funny thing is that I actually had an easier time meditating during my disability, when there was lots of time to sit still. Now that the stresses of family, home, work, and survivorship fill my day, finding time to meditate takes a bigger commitment. It is well worth it, however, and can be done in just minutes a day. Meditation is one of the many gifts cancer brought me and I am so grateful for the “Peace and Joy, Love and Light” it brought into my life.

2. What one piece of advice would you give to women who are struggling with breast cancer and are finding it difficult to look toward a brighter future?

When I was actually going through the diagnostic and treatment phases, I kept going by sheer force of will. I just needed to get through it, especially for my husband and children. After my mastectomy, however, the emotional fallout was overwhelming. Luckily, my cancer center offered free oncology therapy, which I committed to on a weekly basis for approximately a year. I don’t know how I could have processed it all without the help of my wonderful therapists. Without their help dealing with cancer’s losses, I never could have eventually recognized cancer’s gifts.

My one piece of advice would be to get all the support you need, from family and friends, but also from professionals. No one can walk this road alone and no one person can be your only source of support. Ask for and find the help you need to create your brighter future beyond cancer.

Debbie WoodburyAbout Debbie Woodbury:

Debbie Woodbury is a cancer survivor, blogger, speaker, and advocate. She entered the diagnostic and treatment phases of breast cancer in 2008. When she completed treatment in 2009, she was left to deal with cancer’s emotional impact. With the support of family, friends, and wonderful oncology therapists, she was able to create her Gifts and Losses List and eventually realize that “Survival > Existence.” The Gifts and Losses List became the heart of WhereWeGoNow.com, a community of survivors sharing the gifts and losses of lives lived beyond cancer.

Connect with Debbie on Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to visit her blog, Where We Go Now; it’s one of our favorites!

Therapeutic Ways to Relieve Stress

meditationReducing stress is one of the most effective steps you can take to improve your health, and it can be one of the most challenging. Stress is a constant in our lives, but if you’re proactive about managing it, you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel. This post will discuss three very effective ways to relieve stress and reduce health issues.

Yoga

Body postures of varying difficulty and controlled breathing exercises increase your physical flexibility, while meditation helps you focus on being peaceful and calm. This powerful mind / body combination makes yoga an extremely effective stress reliever. Yoga practitioners also enjoy increased strength and balance. Prominent medical facilities such as the Mayo Clinic recognize the role of yoga and meditation in health promotion and stress management.

In yoga, movements are precise and require concentration, which draws your attention away from your hectic life and quiets your mind, so you release tension and anxiety. In addition to reducing stress, yoga has been proven to help with insomnia, depression, and fatigue. Yoga also lowers blood pressure and is used as a weight loss aid.

Journaling

Often we hide thoughts and feelings that cause stress, and we do our best not to think about them. However, stress is like any other untreated wound in that it becomes larger and more damaging if we don’t take care of it. Journaling, which is simply writing down your thoughts, allows you to express those feelings and understand their effects on your health.

When you see those thoughts on paper—especially after the strong emotions connected to them have passed—they lose their power to upset you, and their hold on your mind is broken. The stress these thoughts caused dissipates as a result. When you look objectively at what is going through your mind, you can define what is causing your stress and take steps to remedy it. For many, the act of writing helps them process their feelings, and that alone helps their stress levels.

Meditation

A quick and easy way to reduce stress, meditation is one mental technique of focusing your attention away from stressful thoughts and situations, giving you a sense of balance and peace. In addition to stress relief, the Mayo Clinic has found that meditation helps with pain management, allergies, binge eating, and sleep problems.

When you meditate, you intentionally move your mind into a new state of relaxation that extends throughout your body. Stressful feelings and thoughts are released as you move into a deeper state of awareness. As you become more proficient in meditation, you control your conscious thoughts more easily and relax more quickly.

To learn yoga, journaling, or meditation, search for classes in your area. Look at the instructors’ websites, or call them, and decide who seems knowledgeable and approachable. Often instructors will offer a class or a visit for low or no cost. Don’t be afraid to try something new to reduce your stress.

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